Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
Think of weekend city breaks and you think of Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome etc. All beautiful places to visit of course but all of course with plenty of tourists and tourist prices.
Since living in Holland, I have been to some wonderful cities which, as weekend city breaks go, are really the best places to visit. Because they are relatively unknown, they have a wonderful relaxed vibe where you can really mix in with the locals. Getting around the Netherlands is so simple as it is such a small country so nothing is longer than a 3 hour train ride. And that’s if you are going from one side of the country to the other. Otherwise it’s a lot shorter!
So, without further ado here is one place you do not want to miss out on – Maastricht!
Maastricht is a city south of the Netherlands and is the capital city of the Province of Limburg. It is bordered by both Belgium and Germany and has a real international vibe. It is a very beautiful, archaic and posh city with beautiful churches, museums and so many cafes. In fact, you will feel like you’re in the heart of Paris when you see just how many amazing cafes, bars and restaurants this city has. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice as to which one to choose! However, here are some great places to check out if you’re there!
Ok, so Dutch cuisine may not be necessarily very well known or high up in the cuisine rankings (if there is such a thing) but my god, can they cook international dishes well! I have never been disappointed with the food I’ve tried such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian etc. Seriously, they make a damn great effort when it comes to international cuisine so it’s definitely worth to try!
This place is unbelievable! A very high quality French restaurant with amazing service, and if you’re lucky enough to get a table outside, you can sit outside overlooking the vine leaves. What’s more – this place is pretty darn fancy! However, don’t let that put you off coming because they offer a set 3 course menu for 30 euros where you get to try the delicious food. It’s not very cheap still of course but considering main meals there are also around that price range, it was well worth it. And very, very, very tasty!
If you fancy some sushi, then we have possibly found the best sushi restaurant ever. Olesya is very experienced with her sushi restaurants, and this definitely hit the spot.
This place offers such a huge collection of different plates, it is really damn hard to choose. However, whatever you do have, it’s delicious, another upside is that you can sit outside, right in the heart of the centre and enjoy the spectacular view.
So, we kind of stumbled across a 5 star hotel, thinking it was a bar. A bit pricey but amazing beers! And great service!
Anywhere on Platielstraat for beers and cocktails
Now aside from eating and drinking, there are also some pretty great tours you can do, whether on bus or on boat. We went when it was the first warm day in the Netherlands so hopped on a boat and sailed to the Belgian border and back. For just 8 euros, you get an hour’s boat trip around Maastricht plus waiter service for drinks to keep you refreshed
If you think Oxford is pretty, then you have to check out the uni of Maastricht! It’s honestly so beautiful – you will really forget you’re in Holland and feel like on a movie set instead. Some wonderful buildings, beautiful nature around and cobbled streets make me really want to stay another year and be a student there as well!
This one you can only do really if you have money. Maastricht has so many quirky and wonderful shops which actually sell the stuff you like/want. However, everything is the price of a 5 star, lavish meal so unfortunately we weren’t able to buy anything! But if you have the money and you don’t want to look like everyone else and like little boutiques – you will love it here!
Maastricht is a beautiful city to walk around both during the day and night so if it’s warm, it’s definitely worth a walk away from the bars and clubs in the evening and take a walk across the beautifully lit up bridge.
So there we have it! A short weekend in this wonderful city was really worth it and it offers as much beauty, style, great food and atmosphere as any other big city. Definitely reccomend a visit!